The Fellician warriors, nicknamed The Cats – because they are giant, sentient felines– are some of my favorite characters. There are five of them and they have known Wil for many years. He’s often worked with them and enjoys their outrageous conversation and uninhibited actions. He, Marc and Matilda are invited to dinner with them at a quiet and subdued restaurant – or it is until The Cats show up. Caprilla is the leader of The Cats. Escascia, Cavitus, Errollic and Ariella all work for him.
Caprilla looked into Matilda’s face with his clear, blue eyes. “Friend Wil, this is an amazing lady you have here. Were I an evil fellow, I’d fight you for her.” He purred over the last word, his tongue trilling seductively.
“Aw, hell, Cap. It’s not polite to kill your friend before dinner. I guess you’ll just have to leave her with me for now.” He chuckled, taking her by the hand. “Don’t mind him, Romance, he’s always been a joker.”
Caprilla purred deep in his throat, his voice rumbling like thunder. “I never kid about anything, Captain Romance. I’ve no sense of humor.”
The restaurant was a little crowded, but they were able to get a table on the deck overlooking the water. Matilda tried not to stare at the Fellicians, but they fascinated her. She had seen non-human races before, but she had never met these amazingly beautiful cat people. She was surprised to find that many of their race were mercenaries.
“We are naturally warriors, but too long we fought one another. We were dying off, so our elders put us into mercenary service. We fight side by side with our females.” Cavitus bared his teeth at Escascia. “They give us much fight off the battlefield too. Friend Marc, do your females fight when you mate?”
Marc burst into loud laughter, spewing his wine on the table. Giggling, he wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. “Well, some of them do, Cavitus. Others make demands about what they want us to do and we comply or we might not get any.”
A few minutes later, their food arrived. Sensing that raw meat would be little appreciated by some of their table mates, the Fellicians ordered their steaks rare. Wil’s was almost as bloody. Only Matilda and Marc had their meat brown all the way through.
Wil looked at Marc oddly. “Since when do you eat your meat like that? I’ve seen people beg you to hit it again before it moos.”
Marc cleared his throat, scratched his beard and rubbed his nose before answering. “Well, after being on the station with Matilda, I kind of got used to it.”
Caprilla closely scrutinized Marc and Matilda for a moment. “She is your woman, Friend Marc? I thought she belonged to Friend Wil.”
Marc looked extremely embarrassed. “Well, she and I, uh, worked together before she met Wil.” He mumbled.
The huge black cat remained skeptical. “So, she was your woman and you gave her to him? That is a very kind thing to do, Friend Marc. If you require a female, I’m sure Ariella or Escascia would happily comply. I believe the genitalia are compatible.”
Matilda had never seen Marc blush. He bowed politely to the ladies.
“I appreciate the offer, good friends, but I assure you there’s no need.”
Caprilla was about to continue but hesitated, clearly at a loss as to how to proceed.
“Marc is interested in Commander Rebeckah Grammery,” Matilda interjected, figuring it was her turn to do the embarrassing.
Caprilla pricked up his ears, eyeing Marc speculatively. “That woman on the bridge with you? Oh, an excellent choice, Friend Marc. She is very pretty. I think the expression you’d employ to describe such a woman is smoking hot?”
“Cap,” Wil came to Marc’s rescue. “Why don’t you bring us up to date on what you’ve been doing for the last sixty years.”
Caprilla chuckled, taking the lead that was given. “That would take much more time than we have. But I’ll say that we have fought bravely and won many battles. I’ve heard some of what Marc has done over the years. What have you done to keep busy?”
Wil didn’t answer right away, gathering his thoughts. He had a rare moment where memories flooded over him, the blood, gore and violence would have made most other men ill.
“Much the same as before, but by myself now,” He replied abruptly.
Caprilla dropped the subject.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes
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